Colloquium | Ian Thomas Fleishman

Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 12:00pm


Ian Thomas Fleishman

Played for Real: Violence in Tarantino

This talk proposes a reevaluation of the aesthetic of injury in the films of Quentin Tarantino through an examination of his portrayal of violence. As brutal as his cinema is, often in Tarantino, the wound no longer seems to signify at all: it is instead merely a kind of decoration, as gratuitous as a musical number inserted into the action. And yet, as a critical assessment of his career will demonstrate, the wound remains a privileged site of play in Tarantino and the cornerstone of an aesthetic that both perpetuates and progressively refutes a modernist insistence on the 'reality' of text, on an aesthetic of immediacy—instead ambivalently pillaging and rearranging the mutilated remains of this 'reality', this text and this aesthetic itself.

Ian Thomas Fleishman is an Assistant Professor of German and the newest member of the standing faculty of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pennsylvania. His work focuses largely on sex and violence in order to trace the evolution of narrative form and its underlying epistemological shift from modernism to the postmodern. His first book manuscript, An Aesthetics of Injury: The Narrative Wound from Baudelaire to Tarantino, is the 2015 winner of the Northeast Modern Language Association Book Award. His next book project seeks to modernize two towering figures of the German-language literary canon, Heinrich von Kleist and Franz Kafka, by examining their influence on the works of Cormac McCarthy and J.M. Coetzee. Since arriving at Penn, Fleishman has taught, among other courses, both graduate and undergraduate seminars on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and a survey of German cinema. This spring he will be offering a course on the films of Fritz Lang.

Cinema Studies Program
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